It’s easy to notice how weather and temperatures change with the seasons, but what we sometimes forget is that our skin changes right along with them. It seems obvious that the harsh summer sun calls for a different skincare routine than the dry, frosty winds of winter – but how can you keep up with an ever-changing environment?
Here are our favorite tips for skincare throughout the year, highlighting some of the areas that will need extra care in each season.
Take a look…
Winter presents several challenges for your skin. The relative humidity is much lower in the colder months, which makes your skin dry out more easily, so winter calls for extra vigilance when it comes to moisturizing. If you tend to use a light, lotion-like moisturizer in warmer months, switch to a heavier cream for the winter. And winter nights are long, so don’t forget to take good care of your skin at night, as well as during the day.
We try to combat the cold of winter in many different ways, and some of these can be really harsh on your skin. Central heating is extremely drying, and so is the process of switching between heated homes and the frosty outdoors.
Another thing to watch out for is that beloved wintertime treat: the long, hot shower. As much as we hate to break this to you, this might be drying out your skin too. Prolonged exposure to hot water can strip away the natural oils, leaving you with dry, itchy and even flaky skin.
The Bottom Line: Winter calls for extra moisturizing, and not just on your face. Hands can become very chapped in the cold, so wear gloves to protect them, and use a rich hand cream at night. Avoid harsh soaps and overly hot water, as they can strip natural moisture from your skin. Stay hydrated, and remember your sunscreen – yes, even though it’s cold.
As the weather warms up, the temptation to break out the sleeveless tops and sandals can hit hard, especially if you’re coming out of a particularly long, grey winter. However, be careful here! That early spring sunburn can do some lasting damage to your bare shoulders, especially if they haven’t seen the sun in six months.
Of course, even though the days are getting longer in the spring, the temperature doesn’t always rise to the occasion. You can have some truly wintry weather right up through March (and later!) in many places, so don’t put your winter moisturizers away just yet.
The Bottom Line: The sunscreen you’ve been using over the winter needs to be skipped up a bit to combat the higher angle of the sun, and the extended time you’ll be spending in it. Don’t forget practical sun protection like hats and sunglasses, too. Continue to use a good cream moisturizer as needed, especially if the cold is overstaying its welcome. If your skin looks dull after a cold winter, consider a vitamin supplement to give you an all-over boost.
We’ve talked at length about moisturizing in the winter, but don’t overlook the importance of after-sun skincare. While your moisturizer will probably be much lighter in the summer, it’s just as important to keep up with a routine.
An issue often seen in summertime? Breakouts. These can be caused by a combination of cosmetics and sweat – or they can even result from irritation due to sand, saltwater, or some types of sunscreen. It’s important to remember not to “fuss” at your breakouts too much, as this can make them worse. Instead, try a gentle, natural remedy to reduce their appearance and frequency.
And of course, sunscreen is a ‘must’ during the summer. Remember to reapply every two hours – and now that the days are longer, that could mean 5 or 6 applications a day to ensure full protection.
The Bottom Line: Keep your skin protected with a good sunscreen, but make sure it’s not causing irritation; if it does, try out different brands. Use a good cleanser to make sure all of your cosmetics and sunscreen are removed at night, and gently treat breakouts if they appear.
After an entire summer of sunny days, a little exfoliation might be in order as you move back into cooler temperatures. Your skin may begin to get drier as winter approaches, so consider switching to a more comprehensive day and night moisturizing routine. Remember that sunscreen is still important, even as the days grow shorter.
Use a good hand cream for your hands and fingernails, and wear gloves to help prevent the cracked and brittle nails that come along with the cold weather.
The Bottom Line: You may still have some very hot days, especially in early fall. Keep up with your sunscreen and continue to watch for breakouts, but also begin prioritizing moisturizer. The earlier you begin, the easier it will be to keep your skin looking nice all winter.
Hopefully this rundown gives you a better idea of how to approach skincare as the seasons change. As always, use common sense, and listen to what your skin is telling you. A little extra care can go a long way in the fight against premature aging.